Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Gator Ratings Decline

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Gator Ratings Decline

Article excerpt

Byline: Jeff Elliott, Times-Union sports writer

The magical name of Notre Dame failed to produce the expected lofty television ratings that Gator Bowl officials anticipated when they selected the Irish over several Big East possibilities for this year's game at Alltel Stadium against North Carolina State.

Gator Bowl ratings were down on both a local and national basis. Local NBC affiliate WTLV TV-12 registered a 12.4 rating/20 share, compared to last year's figures of 18.8/33. But with Florida State beating Virginia Tech in the Jan. 1, 2002 Gator Bowl game, the local averages were bound to be lower for this year's contest.

What is surprising is the national rating of 6.1/11, down 12 percent from last year's game, which had a 6.9 rating/13. On a national level, one rating point equates to approximately one million homes that were tuned to the Gator Bowl on Wednesday.

"The numbers don't surprise me, partly due to North Carolina State having a pretty good lead on Notre Dame and the fact that several of the other games going on at the same time were tight," Gator Bowl president Rick Catlett said.

"But we're still pleased to be averaging in the six's. When we first entered into this agreement with Toyota, we were talking about 3.5 averages, so we've been well above that number in recent years."

The Gator Bowl was the only New Year's Day bowl game that took a dip in the national ratings from a year ago, although figures from the Outback Bowl in Tampa will not be available until later today. That game, which had Michigan beating Florida 38-30, was televised by ESPN, which has to receive rankings from over 250 outlets to compile their national average.

The Sugar Bowl showed the biggest jump of the New Year's Day bowl games, going from an 8.3 rating to 9.8, an 18-percent increase over last year. The other bowl game increase was the Capital One Bowl in Orlando between Penn State and Auburn, which improved to a 6. …

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